"love at first sight is real, but only with cupcakes"

Letters to the Emperor is a monthly humor column from the perspective of the self-proclaimed Emperor of Rome, GA. Nero Romansky, the unqualified, long-lost descendant of Julius Caesar, answers his letters from his less-than-loyal subjects. It’s like a fart joke but not as funny.

February means love is in the air, groundhogs are dodging shadows, and the Emperor of all things romance is ready for your lovey-dovey questions. Heed my words of relational opulence, citizens. Who else could put the Rome in Romance?

First question.


“What’s the most romantic place in Rome to take a date? I sold my plasma yesterday and want to treat my baby momma to something special.”

— Mitchell Q. Hoppenstank | Unemployed, Part-time User of Stepsister’s Netflix Password



Can I call you Mitch? Of course, I can. A divine leader needs no permission to address their subjects in a new moniker. “Let it be known that from henceforth Romans, the lad Mitchell shall be referred to as Mitch… Or Mit… Mice, Miceman, Moosemice, Mousehopper, Morpholistank or MiniMcQ.”

Most of the Floyd County elite would tell you to book reservations with classy restaurants downtown like Aventine, La Scala, or John Henry’s. But should you follow the relationship masses like a lemming in a used minivan? Instead, take your she-partner to Free Sample Saturday at the West Rome Sam’s Club for a truly romantic experience. Save your plasma cash on better gifts than a night out — like gold-plated jewelry or a monthly carwash subscription. And on the big night at Sam’s, don’t forget to tip the sommelier.

Me Vexat Pede,

— Nero



“If Cupid had a bow, the best gift for my boyfriend would be a new fiberglass-composite BuckSlayer Supreme — 991 compound hunting bow. See my logic?”

— Julie MacDonaldkins | Class of 2018, Coosa High School



Yes. Anything less is cultural appropriation.

Me Vexat Pede,

— Nero

acosta granite, rome, ga, readv3, v3


“What’s the biggest difference between romantic relationships in Ancient Rome and modern times? I want to hear your perspective before telling my students you’re wrong.”

— Dr. Humbert R. Tuffleson, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Ancient History at Georgia Highlands College 


What a fabulous reminder to update the spam filters on my email. Since your message made it through, let me answer in kind.  

As you may remember, in the days of Caesar, emperors threw lavish parties filled with debauchery so intense even the most progressive-minded American would have blushed Rome Wolves Red at the sight.  

Fast forward to 2024, and lovers of all appetites replaced the week-long pleasure festival with Tinder, Grinder, and LinkedIn. Through these dating apps, Nero learned that you should not set your profile status to “ISO of 150 people to perform [deleted] acts of [deleted] with [deleted][deleted] and [deleted] under the [deleted][deleted]”. It is the best way to get your account suspended.  


I met the most beautiful woman yesterday crossing the river on the Kingfisher Trail. We jogged from opposite directions when we stopped on the bridge to stretch. Angels sang in a moment of perfect serendipity. Time stood still as our souls rejoiced, gazing into the eternity of instant attraction. Afterward, she gave me her phone number! I’m utterly smitten with her despite our relationship only lasting a few moments.  

Is love at first sight real? When should I text her a nude picture of my love bits? 

 — Anonymous   


Let’s answer your second question first. It’s never too early to send a picture of your male organ to a romantic interest. But why stop with this one mystery woman? Cast your love net wider and forward the image to everyone in your contact list. Men and women, mostly in law enforcement, will be eager to meet you!*  

For your first question — love at first sight is real, but only with cupcakes. [Not a euphemism] 


“Why do grown-ups call it the birds and the bees? What are they talking about?” 

— Anika Chanda | Fourth Grader, West Central Elementary 



“Bless your little heart,” as old Socrates used to say during extended Senate meetings. Where should Nero, the ruler of romance, begin? The birds represent women, and the bees are men. Ladies are soft like feathers and majestic like the bald eagle at Berry College. Bee-men buzz around awkwardly, trying to get the ladybird’s attention.  

Sometimes, the bees might dance with other bees, or a bird used to be a bee before the stinger fell off. There’s a lot of dancing, nectar, bird eggs, and…[paragraph deleted]. 

That should clear things up. 

Me Vexat Pede, 

— Nero 



Will you go the entire romance article without mentioning that Rome has a “Frisky Biscuit”?  

— Anyone Still Reading 



The Frisky Biscuit is on my “Feed ’Em to the Lions” list the Emperor will crush into oblivion because of a misunderstanding with the assistant manager. Nero loves himself a homemade recipe of wet cat food and breakfast rolls. When I learned that a Roman business was named after my favorite meal, I pre-paid for a week’s worth of the Extra Frisky collection.  Imagine my surprise when a package of unmentionables arrived devoid of canned pet meat and side dishes. The manager sternly refused to refund my money for gently used sexy-time products.   

“Listen, Frisky,” I said in my most authoritative tone. “You owe me a [deleted] biscuit!” 

Me Vexat Pede, 

— Nero 


Disclaimer: Emperor Nero Romansky is a satirical character written and created by Mark Suroviec, M.Ed. All people and quotations are fictional, invented by the limited imagination of the author, and do not reflect the opinions of the author, editors, or V3 Magazine. *Please do not send pictures of your genitalia to anyone without their consent.